Alianza Americas Rejects Repression of Freedom of Expression in Nicaragua

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

Alianza Americas Rejects Repression of Freedom of Expression in Nicaragua

Sara McElmurry: 312-351-3890 or smcelmurry@alianzaamericas.org

Chicago, IL – April 26, 2018—Last week, without consulting the legislature as constitutionally required, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega took executive action to increase the required insurance contributions collected by the Nicaraguan Institute for Social Security (INSS). This move generated a great deal of social discontent. Both retired people as well as university students took to the streets to express their opposition to the increase in the amounts that workers, employers, and retirees would have to pay into social security.

Public officials, as well as supporters of the governing party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), met the protest with violence intended to silence the voices of discontent. The police response was both violent and disproportional, both with respect to the protestors and to the journalists who were covering the events. Three days of police repression left 30 Nicaraguan citizens killed, and hundreds of protesters wounded or detained. Detainees, primarily students, have since been released.

On Sunday, April 22, the Ortega government withdrew the reforms to the social security tax. The private sector called for a peaceful march on Monday, April 23 to reject violence. There was a massive citizen response to this call, which has led to the convening of a table for dialogue. The detainees, many of them students, were purportedly released on Wednesday, April 25.

Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, made the following declaration in light of the troubling events in Nicaragua:
“We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating political situation in Nicaragua, which signals the underlying instability and insecurity in the country. These events should sound the alarm for US, Mexican or Costa Rican migration authorities who are considering deporting a Nicaraguan citizen.  As we noted when the Nicaraguan Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program was canceled late last year, the internal conditions in Nicaragua are not appropriate for returning Nicaraguans to their country. 

We are concerned about the aggressive response of the police and the disproportionate use of force to repress the protesters. We are equally saddened to learn that supporters of the government resorted to violence to silence opposition voices, and that the Nicaraguan government allowed that to take place. Nicaragua cannot permit the free expression of dissent to become a physical confrontation, or even worse, an armed conflict.

Alianza Americas calls for guarantees for human rights and the liberty of opinion and expression in Nicaragua; a moratorium on deportations to Nicaragua; and an immediate investigation and sanctions for those responsible for killing and wounding protestors and journalists.

Alianza Americas is increasingly concerned about the weakening of democracy in the Central American region, and for the attendant risks to citizens who exercise their political rights. We will continue to monitor the situation in Nicaragua and insist that these actions do not end with impunity for those responsible.”

Alianza Americas
is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.

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